Friday, 15 August 2008

Interview: Novamen - Mr Pauli & DJ Overdose

Mr Pauli and DJ Overdose, otherwise known as Holland's leading electro-exporters Novamen, have been releasing records together since 1998. While Novamen releases tend to appear once every couple of years, both are prolific with other projects that include The Hasbeens (Overdose and Alden Tyrell), Matzo & Pauli (Mr Pauli and DJ Technician), Los Hombres Nova, Pauli Y Overdose and Get It Boyz amongst others, on a variety of labels that include Clone, Viewlexx and Bunker. Magic Waves has been proud to have exclusive mixes from both Mr Pauli and DJ Overdose in our playlists, and Cyber Dance Records has just released Mr Pauli's jaw-dropping remix of Ali Renault's 'Zombie Raffle'. With The Hasbeens 'Keep Fooling Yourself' and Mr Pauli's 'JapFab' being probably our favourite tunes of the summer so far, it seemed like the perfect time to have an interview with them.

Mr Pauli:

You're known as a lover of both italo and electro, and both influences can clearly be heard in your various different projects. Can you tell us a bit about how you got into them and what tracks and producers influenced you the most?

- That is the music I grew up on. I think one will always like the soundtrack of growing up. But there's much more music I was listening to that influenced me. Pop music from the 80's has been a very big influence. I was addicted to watching video-clips on MusicBox and SkyChannel and those kind of pre-MTV music channels. So I think for instance Duran Duran has been just as big an influence as let's say KOTO.

What are your memories of the italo pirate radio days in Holland?

- Those are memories of being a kid riding my BMX bike on hot summer days. I wasn't doing music myself yet so the music is just a soundtrack to my youth. Was listening to the radio a lot when I actually had to be sleeping. Already then I was a creature of the night. I could never sleep when I had to be asleep. So I listened illegally to the illegal radio...

How did you originally become involved with Viewlexx and the CBS?

- The first Novamen EP was released on Murdercapital records in 1998 or 1999. And Murdercapital is being run by the same person that's behind CBS and Viewlexx.

Your electro project Novamen (with DJ Overdose) is one of your most long-running, can you tell us a bit about how it started and how things have changed for Novamen since those early days?

- Well Overdose and me have been homies for over 25 years so it was only a matter of time before we started working together. When Overdose was living in an old high-school building and I was in dire need of a place to live, I moved in for a few months. So when we had all our gear together in one room, we just HAD to do some music together. Then and there we became Novamen. Since, we've had periods of doing stuff and periods of not doing stuff, and it will probably stay that way.

The Matzo & Pauli EP on Viewlexx is a great record. Can you tell us something about Matzo & Pauli and if we can expect any more releases in future?

- Matzo is of course DJ Technician and has also been a homie for ages so for that reason it was inevitable we were going to do something sometime. Both being italo-lovers but only producing electro stuff, it was time to do something in the italo department. We had loads and loads of fun making those tracks, which is of course very important, and still like them today because of that. Actually today I find the music more industrial than italo. Four other Matzo & Pauli tracks exist and who knows if they will get released some day?

Where do you draw inspiration for your music from?

- From other music I guess. I'm not the kind of guy that gets inspiration from flowers or a nice landscape or things like that. Oh, and spending time in other peoples' studios gets me motivated to go home and be productive.

I hear you work mainly with samplers, can you tell us about the way you use them in the studio and what other bits of gear you particularly like?

- I use my MPC2000XL for sequencing the whole studio and as main sampler. Mostly sample drum sounds but of course also all kinds of other stuff. Used to sample most synth parts too when I only had one synthesiser, but now I have a few synths so I can have one playing a bass-line, one playing strings and one playng a lead etc etc. No need for sampling synths anymore. The Roland Juno 106 was my first love and still use it in every production. Great machine. The NordLead1 was my second love, but after 10 or so years it's not really exciting anymore. Still very useful. Use it live all the time. The (lack of analogue) sound can get kind of boring though. Lately I've been enjoying my new Prophet 8 synthesiser a lot. My first real synth for real men ;-)

What other contemporary producers and musicians do you listen to?

- I listen to lots of stuff but I can only name 25% of it....oh yeah lately I like Beta Evers a lot!

What are the best, worst and most ridiculous gigs that you've ever played?

The worst gig was a gig I couldn't do because my MPC crashed at the very moment I was pushing the start button. The place was packed with italo-lovers and I was planning on doing a killer set that night. Not a nice experience at all.

The coolest gig I can think of now was the first Novamen gig we did in Detroit. We arrived late at night. First time there so that was cool to begin with. We drove to one of those completely deserted areas which Detroit mainly exists of, got to a place so underground it wasn't even a venue, and outside we found the nastiest poster EVER with our name on it! Great experience!

I never played a ridiculous gig ;-)

What new releases do you have lined up?

- A four track EP on Clone containing 'JapFab' and 'Questions' (ft. Nancy Fortune & Fred Ventura) and a Bumper 12" on MDEX records. Three tracks, one is called 'Never Stop', and a remix.

What record of yours are you happiest with and why?

- Well the Mr Pauli Viewlexx V-16 release is pretty satisfying. That release got Mr Pauli on a roll.

Where do you think the future for both italo and electro lies?

- Never thought about that really. For me both genres will never fall out of grace.
Electro is something electronic music producers tend to fall back to when their original style is milked dry, so I think that will always be around. Certainly as long as music is being made with machines.

Apart from music, what other passions/obsessions do you have in life?

- Interested in lots of other things, but music is the only obsession.

If you could be driving any car down the highway listening to any track you liked, what would they be?

- Depeche Mode has some great driving tracks. Which are also very suitable when not driving by the way... If cash wasn't an issue I would probably be driving a Rolls Royce Phantom, hehe...

Five records that have rocked Mr Pauli's world?

- These records still rock my world , but especially triggered something in my brain when they were released.

1. Prince - 'Purple Rain' album (and after that all his other stuff until he stopped using his LinnDrum basically)
2. Michael Jackson - 'Thriller' album. (I mean, my God what a solid album that is!)
3. Jonzun Crew - 'Pack Jam' (the first dark-ish electro track i can remember. Listening to those chords I was always like WTF is happening here!?)
4. Trans X - 'Living on Video' (that was really the future when I first heard it. Still can give me goosebumps)
5. Divine - 'Shoot Your Shot' (and later of course about everything disco Bobby O ever did)

DJ Overdose:

I remember reading you and Ingmar (Mr Pauli) had a band together in the late 80s, can you tell us about that? What was your background before, and do you think it had any similarities to what you did with Novamen?

- The band was called Kuntebe which meant nothing but sounded fun. We made kind of Red Hot Chilli Peppers stuff, it was more about practising than anything else, all we ever did was play one gig at a school. Ingmar played bass and I scratched in the band, it had nothing to do with electro.

I fell in love with hip hop when a friend of mine got a cassette with 2 electro/hip hop compilation albums - the Dutch Ben Liebrand-compiled 'Scratch Tracks' and the British 'Essential Electro 1'.
I heard 'Electric Kingdom' and 'Boogie Down Bronx' at least 10 times a day for 6 months or so, and I still love those tracks. I think I was about twelve then.

You're known for your skills on the turntable, but also for your passion for producing italo and electro - can you tell us a bit about your different musical influences and how they manifest themselves in your music?

- I'm not so passionate about italo or even electro for that matter, I don't own one italo record and the only newer electro records I have are Dopplereffekt's first two which are already from a while ago and I bought one DJ Funk record a year ago - 'Shake It Baby'.

For me it's hip hop I love, not the new 'bling bling' but the old self-made man pouring your heart out stuff and then it can be about whatever they rap about. That whole 'get the best producer on every album' and going from making zilch to a hell of a lot of money killed hip hop is what I think. There are counter movements I know but they all seem to sound like what Tribe Called Quest was doing way better ten years ago to me. The electro I play is to me at least hip hop meaning I like the stuff that has rapping on it, I'm not so much into electro that is more on the techno side, of course some stuff I dig a lot like Model 500 and from good old Holland, Electronome.

I only really got to know italo from playing and hanging with I-f... what I remember as being like "wow this shit is good" is a car ride we took when going to play in Geneva. We played Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and an italo mix he did, at some point Felli's 'Diamonds In The Night' came on... we got on top of the mountain as the sun came up and we saw the lake of Geneva, it was magical, I love that track. Other tracks I really like are The Creatures 'Believe In Yourself', Immortals 'Ultimate Warlord', Azoto 'Exalt Exalt' and a lot of others too but I wouldn't know the name of the track or the performing artist.

Why do you think that the Netherlands has such a special affection for italo?

- I think it's more The Hague than the Netherlands or at least it used to be, maybe because in a way it's summer love beach-party music and The Hague is a city by the sea.

And we all know pirate radio stations used to be all over The Hague and all kinds of antennas were scattered around the rooftops, I think maybe we got brainwashed like MTV does to the kids nowadays.

I hear you use the legendary SP1200 (or it was your first drum machine?) - any other favourite pieces of studio gear and why?

- My first drum-computer was a Kawai, I think the model was R5; it was not a very cool drum-machine but I learned a bit of programming on it. Some years later a friend saw an ad for an SP12 turbo actually which is the 1200's older brother, it has 5 sec sampling time instead of 10 for the 1200 and it has it's own drum sounds which in the 1200 they left out but you can load them from disk which leaves 5 seconds again and the 1200 can reverse samples. Best improvement was a 3'5 inch built-in floppy drive against a Commodore external drive. After the SP12, Technics SL1200's are still my favourite piece of equipment, I love putting on records.

For the rest anything that gets the job done is cool to me, I care more for a song to be good than the sounds in the song to be good; actually I love a song even more if it's really good with crappy sounds - not too crappy though there is a fine line. But of course certain sounds can also drive me wild.

Your latest project (with Alden Tyrell), The Hasbeens, is a huge sensation in the underground already... how did the collaboration come about? Why do you think the dynamic between you two works so well?

- We've been hanging and making tracks since forever but never finished anything most of the time; it was intro's or we would do DJ tracks with a lot of DJ Overdose and Alden Tyrell triggering (like the 'Obsession' scratch remix he did with DJ Technician), put it on cassette and I'd go scratch on it at home. Hasbeens was something where we were having a joke about both being a bit down and talking a lot of crap about nothing being good, cool or worth it or whatever.

He said he mostly tried to make uplifting songs and I was always going for the lowest bass, let's try something different together. The concept was going to be negativity all the way, we have an album title which is "Out The Window" which explains I think everything. But first there's the new single on Frustrated Funk - 'I Fall To Pieces'.

What's next for DJ Overdose from here? Do you have any records or projects in the pipeline?

- A new 5-track DJ Overdose record is coming out right after summer on Strange Life Records. I have a lot of unfinished 80's tracks and The Hasbeens need to go to work and will but are not at it yet, Get It Boyz only play records for each other or hang and have a laugh when we meet, Novamen is on pause due to me moving to Rotterdam and giving it a break but I think there will be new stuff someday.

What's your favourite record that you've made (and why)?

- I like all of them but I don't think all of them are good, and I can like them for different reasons. 'Lies' is a good song, 'The Beat' has everything that I think is cool; lots of bass, tuned cowbells, scratching and pitch-shifted vocoder rapping, 'Make The World Go Away' has the right amount of melancholy.

As a DJ can you tell us about any particularly strange or interesting gigs that you've done? And of course any personal favourites?

- I'm not a crowd-pleasing DJ. I want to stuff what I think is good down your throat, so sometimes it works real well like for instance when I play Miami Bass at some places people got kicked in the head and went nuts shaking the building together with the bass... other times people would think what the hell kind of crap is this guy playing.

DEMF was great - we (Novamen) were really fucked up after driving the whole night to get there in time and the crowd really dug our stuff. Breakdancers were flying through the air, there were people with Viewlexx banners - it was a lot of fun.

Playing live in Amsterdam with I-f and Alden Tyrell I think as Parallax Corporation was cool too, I-f and me were drunk as hell - we were singing 'Lift Off' while another song was playing and then we got into 'Superman' with a lot of cussing and me scratching 'motherfucker'... it had such a good punk feel to me, this is us - take it or leave it, we are enjoying ourselves.

A strange story would be when I got arrested in the club, we had borrowed my father's car to go to the club, Technician dropped me off to go park and got checked by the cops because of a broken headlight, when they checked the trunk there was some boxes of gun-shells in there (my father used to hunt). He was taken to the station and they went and got me from the club handcuffed and all. My father picked up the car the next day.

What are your views on the current state of the Dutch scene? Who would you recommend that we might not have heard yet?

- I really don't know... people talk of scenes, what I see is some people who make records.

What were your early influences and what are you influenced by now?

- My early influences were a lot since my mother is a music freak - she would play classical, blues, reggae, rock and when I got into hip hop she would borrow my Mantronix and Sweet Tee records. First records I bought were Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Pink Floyd and Prince, when I heard hip hop that was all I bought.

Outside of Dutch circles who are your favourite producers these days?

- Lately I've been even more out of it, since I don't like the hip hop, last stuff that was really good to me was Havoc (Mobb Deep), RZA (Wu-Tang)... Only albums I still buy is Ghostface Killah, the rest of the records I buy is old.

How would you describe the sound of DJ Overdose for those who don't yet know?

- Well it can be anything. I might do a country record next (again) but I think what people would call it is electro.

Please tell us 10 records that have rocked Overdose's world.

1. Schoolly D - 'PSK (What Does It Mean?)'
2. The 2-Live Crew - '...Is What We Are '
3. Too Short - 'Born To Mack'
4. King T - 'Act A Fool'
5. Cybotron - 'Clear'
6. Method Man - 'Tical'
7. Demon Boyz - 'Recognition'
8. BDP - 'By All Means Neccessary'
9. Just Ice - 'Back-To The Old School'
10. Sweet Inspirations - 'Sweet Inspirations'


Novamen on myspace

Mr Pauli on myspace

DJ Overdose on myspace

Hasbeens on myspace

Matzo & Pauli on myspace

Get It Boyz on myspace

1 comment:

Gerry said...

Hey you didn't credit my photo! Naughty!

It's cool though. It's a really good interview.

You should have grabbed the photo next to it in my stream too, the fabled Novamen SP-12. :)