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The Story of #WEATNU

“It takes years for an idea to culminate and become something more than mindless thinking. Every diamond is created due to a great amount of pressure. I’m a musician, I write Electronic / Avant-garde, Left-field music. It is certainly in its own category.”

Coming from the roots of Industrial / Experimental and EBM, Ambient, Dub, and eventually those roots became an urge to write my own music, and I didn’t know what I was doing or how to go about doing it electronically.

I had been writing guitar music prior to that from 1992–1998, then getting into writing Electronic music that summer. Music has been with me since 1983, when my Mother first put on, Wham or Hall & Oats, H2O record, or when I heard the album, The Ghostbusters on tape, and being captivated by The Thompson Twins — In the Name of Love. When the Internet had its start in 1997 for me, I found myself seeking out music that moved me differently than terrestrial radio, as during this time, radio was dying out and becoming something of a mainstream money maker. MTV was still going strong in its post-grunge era.

One night, I started looking on Yahoo for internet radio stations, Realplayer had its share of the obscure, even at its low bitrate quality, but I didn’t care, the music is what moved me. It wasn’t long until I found a website called Radio Free Underground, they shut down in 2000, sadly. They played many genres I’d not heard, other than the experimental stuff I discovered through MTV’s The AMP. Goth being one of them, including PsyTrance, Techno, Electro, Electronica, Industrial, Darkwave, and more. The days when true discovery felt like you found something, and it was yours, it felt personal.

I remember first hearing Industrial from a NIN tape a friend gave me during school in 1992, then he gave me a recording of Ministry’s Psalm 69. By the time 1997 rolled around, I was hooked on darker underground music. After being subjected to the more obscure underground, including the MOD scene of 1995, given to me through floppy discs from friends, AMIGA-like computer music, Trackers, Fasttracker, iPlay, S3M, FT2 and so forth.

From the collection of all this, I started developing a great love for “The Underground”, and noticed from my experimenting with Electronic music, deeply in 2000 that Electronic wasn’t that huge yet, though, radio and modern music was still very pop-driven, and rock based. It wasn’t until 2003 and 2005 where I started really hearing the Electronic influence in artists, such as Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Underworld, The Orb and Orbital.

The Severed Heads years…

I was actually heavily influenced from my early days of electronic music writing from Severed Heads, an Aussie artist, named Tom Ellard. For years after 1998 I didn’t have the Internet, I had to go to local university computer labs to use the Internet, usually every night for months on end. During the time of my depth into making electronic in 2000 through tracker software, Fasttracker II, I found myself looking up Severed Heads, who I was introduced to from a boss at my job Eureka Pizza in Springdale, AR.

I no longer felt like mainstream music was important as it once was, I had a drive to do different things. In that computer lab, I came across a website called groovetech.com, and this was my introduction into DnB, Dub, Experimental, Techno, Sampling, from some of the greatest DJs to ever be broadcast through camera, across the world.

Each night I was engrossed in watching these DJs spin for hours. The music was catchy, bouncy and addictive. Even to this day if you look up those podcasts on YouTube, you hear something special just starting to happen. The beginning of what electronic music was, and why it’s so important today.

Years pass…

My love of electronic music continued, in writing it alone, allowing only my family and at the time, during my marriage, my wife and her friends. Also in 2001 I didn’t have the Internet, but I still continued when I could, go to the local library to use it. By the time I got the Internet again, it was around 2010, and I began to think, “what if I upload this music I’ve been doing all these years, and let others listen?” It was through Soundcloud then Bandcamp, and YouTube, I started doing this. Friends on Facebook would tell me I should let others listen, I was reluctant of course, because it was so personal to me.

From venturing forth into various groups online, uploading music and speaking and promoting on twitter, I came to realize that unknown artists were being ignored, or even unheard. That it took a great deal of effort to even get people to listen. Of course during the early days of SoundCloud, people would listen to you more, due to the lack of algorithms.

The power of Social Media.

From the urge to get my own music heard and having a hard time doing it, it started building up in me by 2012–2013 that something needed to be done, something big, a huge idea, and since social media was just getting popular, I thought, “Why not, I want to make waves and create a storm even if I fail doing so. People on social media are making things happen, so why can’t I?” I thought.

During those days, it was hard to find any kind of help to get your music heard. Net-labels were elite and only allowed a certain type of music in, EDM was so big that people were making 200 grand per night when they played; completely ignoring The Underground scene. I wondered, why The Underground and experimental music was no longer around? What happened to it, was it hidden, did it die out? No… From meeting people on Twitter and other places, SoundCloud, YouTube and forums I found it was very much alive.

Great music is hidden.

There were others doing this, there were people like myself with the drive to be heard. Help groups, and Internet radio started popping up, like Bluetown Electronica on Facebook, Revival Synth, one guy who has been running his group well before #WEATNU started. Tracy Perry (Expansion of Presence) who has helped many indie artists for years and years, and continues to do so. Dr. Bones, an avid lover of The Underground scene from Canada, and so and so on. This was during 2013–2014.

I started thinking, “why is it so hard just to belong to a simple label, one without the rules many other mainstream ones cause to you endure? One that we all needed.” I said in my heart, “I will create an organization that will allow others to go up the ladder with me for free, and all of us will be helped.” I wanted to hold everyone on my shoulders; ALL of the indie scene on my back. I must have been crazy for thinking it. Something was burning deep inside of my soul, something I couldn’t stand any longer. I thought, “what if I create a SoundCloud group like others were doing?”, so one day out of the blue I made one called “We are the New Underground“, after having an in-depth conversation with a friend of mine through Facebook, namely, Nessi Holt who writes for a blog called Carpe Carmina. I remember telling her, “you know what! We are the New Underground“, and she said, “Yes!! We are.” Nessi Holt, did an extensive interview with me in 2015 on #WEATNU, she’s helped countless indie artists for many years, including working with RKC Radio.

The start of a new era…

After making the group, 100s poured in, during the first two weeks, it was so hard to help them all that I had to get others to help filter artists into the group. It was a phenomenon, I was hooked from the rush of helping these artists be heard. Starting to post each one who got in, onto Twitter, with their twitter @names attached so others could find that artist, making sure the legwork had been done. The platform and machine of #WEATNU had begun.

It came to me that we needed more than just a group on SoundCloud and during this time, summer of 2014, We are the New Underground was just a name. Before long, the acronym #WEATNU was born. I noticed that a lot of hash tags brought attention to a brand or groups. December of that year, WEATNU Records was born, where the artists who found us were offered a means to be part of a label, where their music mattered, and where people would appreciate them with good results.

People felt the need to be heard.

Most of all, they would at least be heard. Sometime around Summer of 2014 WEATNU [OUR] Online Underground Radio was born, and a machine was created to help the underground. People started contacting me, wanting to make a difference. Soon DJCJ of RadioCoolio, an Internet radio personality in Canada, who also helps indie artists be heard, contacted my E-mail and Facebook, and wanted to promo and spread the word.

Roofy, another artist, who spent an entire year spreading the word about #WEATNU caused others to find us as well. Including Ivan of AMNIOTIC — By 2015, in the same year, Brian Diamond who at the time was just starting Shadows & Mirrors, and is now a label owner of Electric Dream Records, also came our way to help spread the word, as he and AMNIOTIC both wanted to help the community find our artists. During this era, UK artist Craig Manga, of Manga Bros, who later went on to form (Black Box Recordings) befriended our movement and spoke highly to many of those whom he followed, which helped further our cause. His friend, Mark Forster, was a force unmatched, as he loved the underground and its artists and #WEATNU, by helping them on ArtistSignal, he will be greatly missed as he passed away some years ago.

A publication was created.

Our magazine was helping artists be heard, shows on Mixcloud were uploaded from interviews I conducted with new artists weekly, live radio with artists and new songs, showcasing them weekly as well. Special shows on our Internet radio and many other things would happen to become what #WEATNU was developing into. A driving force, a movement that was needed, that wouldn’t stop. By 2016, over 400 artists from all over the world had graced their presence with us.

A new chapter begins

The rush was intense, and it was exhausting. It was time to stop working so hard, but I still had the drive. Our magazine went away that year, radio shut down in the Summer, but the label continued pumping out new music, but slowly. It wasn’t until 2018 where I had a conversation with a new friend, who joined us that year, and she told me “you get what you put in.” So taking that advice, I ran with it, pushing hard once again but, using what I learned before and pushed the label to become what I had envisioned years ago.

2018 – 2019

Our label started releasing finally to streaming platforms, including our already releasing music through Bandcamp since 2014. WEANTU Records was being noticed, once again, restored and still a great passion of mine, even after all these challenges. The radio also returned in November of 2018. Streaming of course helped greatly, but newer artists by 2018 started finding us, and The Underground was still being served. With a dream, a vision and a little fire, anything can be accomplished. Artists who have been helped and brought to the light from this effort , are as follows, and these are just a handful – AMNIOTIC, Bleepeater, Whettman Chelmets, Adryelle, Lie Craze, Dead Scrimshaw, Amattik, AR89, Belial Pelegrim, Bufinjer, Jazzykat, DigitalSlumberParty, Jessica Grant, Fluffytails, B. Hasemeyer, Bedtime for Robots, Lemonade Kid, Meter Bridge, Nurse Predator, The Aircrash Bureau!, Sound Engraver.

The magazine returns

One night, as I was going through old site snapshots on waybackmachine, I looked up our old magazine, which use to be at weatnu-magazine.com and a flood of nostalgia filled me. Reading the articles, reviews, and interviews that many people had written, including myself, I thought it was time to bring the magazine back. I started working on a new magazine website, the one you are reading now. The artist needed a voice, not just their music to be heard, but why they do what they do. Publications are important to fans as well as artists. I was pleased to have this final part of the #WEATNU machine return, and this time, it would remain, just like its radio. With all parts together once more, Radio, label and magazine, things felt complete and it is my hope they all further the cause of the Independent artist.

The label itself has signed over 100 artists since 2014, many of which are still with us. With the radio returning, WEATNU [OUR] continues to help artists outside the label as well, be heard. With its 24/7 streaming radio, 365 days a year, and free to join. Showcasing many of these types of genres, while encompassing the electronic array.

The dream continues

WEATNU Records has taken in numerous genres and sub-genres over the years, such as Electronic, Electronica, Experimental, Industrial, Indiepop, Indie rock, Electro-pop, Synth-pop, Vaporwave, Trip-hop, Lo-fi, Instrumental Hip-hop, Synthwave, Darkwave, Ambient, Dark Ambient, Alt-rock, post-rock and so on, and we continue to allow The Underground artist to join. With the driving force of the unknown artist, we still have many people who support us behind the scenes. Many of whom are unnamed, but are greatly appreciated for letting others know what we do.

#WEATNU continues to help artists yearly, and that passion never dies. From 2014 and beyond, We are the New Underground is the heart of The Digital Underground, a beacon of hope for the artist who just wants to be noticed, without needing to sacrifice their hopes and dreams. We continue to help them. I hope this story of how we started influences you, and gives you hope that if you dream it, it will happen. We are the New Underground 10.10.2019 (originally published through Medium.com)

Almark – #WEATNU Digital Magazine – November 2019

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ArchivesNew albums

WEATNU Records: Year one

For an entire year WEATNU has been building a large group of artists on it’s label WEATNU Records. You’ve heard many of them throughout the months. Now you can hear them all together on the same album. Showcasing 74 amazing electronic artists, including punk and post-punk, dream-pop, nu jazz swing. You can buy this great piece of underground history for 9.80 USD. Complete with a wide variety of styles from all over the world. WEATNU Records continues to take in the greatest of hidden talent. All artists receive 70% per sale. WEATNU believes in fair pay to the artist.

Purchase on Bandcamp

<iframe style=”border: 0; width: 350px; height: 470px;” src=”https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3474610779/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/transparent=true/” width=”300″ height=”150″ seamless=””>WEATNU Records: Year One by WEATNU RECORDS</iframe>

#WEATNU Digital Magazine

Dec 2015

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How Hot Is Your Cloud? – Autumn i

By Jessica Pink

Having only heard a couple of track by How Hot Is Your Cloud? prior to listening to this release I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

Autumn i, is the conclusive piece in How Hot Is Your Cloud?’s ‘Seasons’ series, and  is also How Hot Is Your Cloud?’s 4th release to date.
Tagged as avant-garde, experimental, and ambient, it fills each of these genres/descriptors nicely, with a reverb heavy, dream like quality.
It twists directions taking you on a ride through the three tracks carrying the weight and burden of its titles themes.

Each track flows through a variety of different sound palettes.
In ‘September (Your Last Breath)’ melodies and lead lines, collide with some spooky synth pads. Swelling into very rhythmic bass lines.
Birdsong and tearing sounds, overlay a building staccato, in the track ‘October (Funeral)’ and drop into ethereal, almost whisper like sounds before strange melodies, and distant drum beats are lead in by a surreal choir.
It all ends with ‘November (Going Through Your Things)’ starting up with eerie white noise and strange keys, shift to vocals edited into a curious mantra, that fade into a swishing soundscape with bells. The arrival of electronic drum beats and synths breaking into the flow of the final track, give it some punch, as though realisation is breaking through. An acceptance of an ending.

The artist them-self states;
“My most avant-garde yet personal album.
My dealings with death in experimental electronica.”

There is a general atmosphere of departure, and sudden changes in the tracks seem to express varying levels of acceptance, and loss.
Day to day sounds in the field recordings merge with the synths and white noise, creating moments of clarity amidst the ebb and flow of the albums sonic landscape.

I’m going to be checking out more of this artists work now, and if you are a fan of exploratory or experimental ambient, with something unique to offer structurally, go listen to and purchase their albums on Baboom.

Also on Bandcamp

Social media links
Follow How Hot Is Your Cloud? on Twitter
Like How Hot Is Your Cloud? On Facebook

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Review: Blueonsilver – Ceanorm

Blueonsilver radiates a pensive and surreal journey through the ventilation system of the half-waking mind in this latest release, Ceanorm. As the album kicks in, I can feel the onset of a calculated aural surgery on what I thought was supposed to be another Saturday afternoon in the early days of another summer on the Internet, that moves as softly as a woodland sunrise, laced with transistors and the silence of metamorphosis from track to track.

The use of pads, bells, and delay creates in mind a reassembly of the sense impressions I never knew to have been there before. A warm and smooth trip through the danger of beauty. The progressions are subtle in a meditative grip of sonic color that has challenged my understanding of the breathing entity that is modern ambient music.

After having listened to the album several times now, while trying to do justice to the work at hand, using all sorts of adjectives and what-not, I have come to the realization that while listening to blueonsilver, my words have become useless in attempt to describe an otherworldly harmony and resonance that could very well alter my appreciation of time as I once thought it to be…

The synthesizer in this album is very well implemented, filling my office in a depth and meditative representation of what it really is to “read between the lines”. Ceanorm is a potent album that would compliment many settings, and will leave the listener entranced, and closer to the self.


Follow Blueonsilver on Twitter, aka Paul Randall.

JC Luff#WEATNU Digital Magazine

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Interview with Awentekr

‘IDM has become a by-word to the experimental scene in the last 20 years. Native to ‘Aphex Twin’ country, Cornwall, UK. Being armed with Renoise and youth, Awentekr could teach a lot of us about what it means to be intelligent and musically gifted. #WEATNU DM was pleased to have a interview with him.’

How are you this evening?

Awentekr: I’m good thank you, busy but good… Yourself?

I’m well, thank you. We’ve been hearing your music for some time on #WEATNU OUR. Could you tell us a little about it?

Awentekr: First of all, thank you for playing my music on WEATNU, all support is appreciated and I firmly stand behind what WEATNU is about. I’d say my music is predominately what people would call IDM but I like to add a bit of ambience and space to it. I also try to mix complex drum patterns with more ambient synth sounds. Of course, I make other music as well but I’d say that’s probably the backbone of most of the material that is released so far and is being released in the near future.

You’re very welcome, glad to have you with us. Since you write IDM/Ambient influenced music, who are your influences? I’m sure I can name one, but I’d rather hear you say it.

Awentekr: I’m influenced by a lot of musicians and producers. I got into electronic music through Kraftwerk and still consider them one of my biggest influences, Nigel Godrich is a big one, John Frusciante is another favourite of mine, both his electronic music and his previous solo work. Artists like Aphex Twin, Autechre & Venetian Snares too. I’m sure there is more I could name but I’d be here all day.

I was going to say, Aphex Twin, but that’s assuming isn’t it? If anything I hear more a touch of Autechre and even some BoC, either way, the quality is superior in design, the way you create these patterns.

Awentekr: Haha, AFX is most likely on 90% of electronic musician’s lists. I have to list him though, got to represent my fellow Cornishman.

He has become the name on most IDM artists lips these days hasn’t he? Mr. James. But let’s get back to you. Are you the analogue or digital type, or both?

Awentekr: At the moment I’m digital. I use Renoise pretty much exclusively. I’ve used Reason 5 in the past but it wasn’t flexible enough for what I wanted to do, I also used Logic Pro for some live band recording projects. However in the future I hope to add analog gear to my setup. I’d much prefer to be using real synths and machines but unfortunately money is an object right now.

Do you create the sequences with computer keyboard or midi controller through Renoise? Because I personally use it also.

Awentekr: It depends, sometimes I like to just program the numbers, chords and notes but being a musician who plays a few instruments I like to play some of the parts in by keyboard. It all depends on how the track feels to me, it goes on a song by song basis and if I can’t get it right by programming I’ll play it in and vice versa.

I have the headphones on now and listening to your new album, when is this one going to be released?

Awentekr: There’s no set date yet but it shouldn’t be too far into the future, I hope. There’s just a few things left to finalize…

You’ve mentioned that you play other instruments?

Awentekr: Yes, I’ve played drums for around 8 years so that’s where my love of programming drum patterns comes from. I also play guitar, bass and piano

Classically trained or have you had music theory?

Awentekr: I’ve had music theory through school and then a year of theory in college but it’s never something I’ve paid much attention to. I rarely ever showed up to my music theory class I learn most songs by ear whether its drums, guitar, piano or even programming. I think listening is an important skill for musicians and is often overlooked, training your ear by playing along to records and figuring out tones, melodies and chord changes by ear is very important and healthy for musicians. I hope more musicians decide to learn by listening in the future. This is not to say theory isn’t important, they are both equally important but I feel there should be a balance and for this reason, music theory is something I will work on in the future.

How do you usually begin a new song?

Awentekr: All it takes is just an idea in my head or something I’ve heard to set me off. I always start with a blank template and there’s not really a set process I go through. No instrument that I choose first, nothing, it’s completely different every single time.

Do you create the music with sampled instruments or mostly VST?

Awentekr: I like to use VST’s a lot and really get into them, again I rarely ever save these sounds or have a template as I try to make it slightly different every time. I’ve really been loving the SH 101 VST I have recently. I do use samples in my music but that’s mainly for percussion. I have used kalimba and bell samples in some of my music recently though so I’m gradually venturing into it. I’m thinking of working with vocal samples a lot more in the future, it’s something I’m going to look into.

Very cool, so you’ve been playing with Lush101? My favourite as well.

Awentekr: Hmm, it’s not that one. I can’t remember the specific VST or who it’s made by but it’s great. Hopefully someday I’ll be using a proper 101 and not a VST.

I’ve heard some remixes as well on your soundcloud.

Awentekr: Ahh yes, I enjoy giving my own interpretation of other peoples work. The first one I did was a remix of a song called ‘Bus Rides Make Me Sleepy’ by a musician called Lwpss. The second was a track I did using an acapella from UK Grime artist Jme’s track ‘If You Don’t Know’. I plan on doing a lot more remixes in my free time in between my own releases.

Great stuff, and I hear some Radiohead on the Bus Rides Make Me Sleepy RMX.

Awentekr: Yeah I used a vocal sample from Radiohead’s ‘Reckoner’ on the Lwpss remix, they made them available for people to download and remix some time ago.

I really dig the open delay on this one with Thom Yorke’s voice.

Awentekr: Thanks! I really like using a lot of effects in my music. It comes from my guitar playing. A lot of the guitarists I’m influenced by use a lot of effects. I really admire guitarists such as John Frusciante, Josh Klinghoffer, Michael Rother, Jonny Greenwood and Robert Smith. I’ve always rejected the notion that using a lot of effects makes someone a bad musician or a bad guitarist, there’s a lot of skill in using them especially knowing how to get good and interesting sounds out of them. It always has to be musical for me.

There are many timbres in using effects, allowing the rawness to come forth, I support them fully.

Awentekr: Exactly, I’ve never understood why musicians who use them are so heavily disregarded as being skilled musicians by a lot of people. It’s ridiculous!

If that were the case then Radiohead wouldn’t be massively popular after 20+ years.

Awentekr: Exactly, there are people out there like you who understand it but unfortunately not everyone does. Each to their own!

What got you started in Electronic music and for how long have you been creating?

Awentekr: I started making electronic music probably in 2012 just little bits in Reason 5 and Logic Pro but never anything serious. I got started after my dad showed me The Man-Machine album by Kraftwerk and I just thought it was one of the greatest things I’d ever heard. Around the same time John Frusciante put out his first solo electronic record PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone and I thought that it was brilliant. Instantly after hearing those I wanted to make electronic music. As I got more and more into electronic music I started to take it more seriously so in around October 2013 I started to record ambient music in Reason, a track from those sessions came out as ‘Kobv’ on my first ep ‘Rane EP‘. I gradually got into weirder electronic music like Venetian Snares, Autechere and AFX. I also really loved the Speed Dealer Moms EP because of how insane it sounded to me with its complex rhythms and sounds I’d never heard before. Around this time I started to put together the songs for Rane EP.

So, you were influenced by the greats later in life?

Awentekr: Yeah! I mean obviously Kraftwerk are THE greats but I didn’t get into AFX, Autechre and such until the past couple years.

Are you working on other projects at this time?

Awentekr: At the moment in time I currently have two EP’s on the shelf, the one mentioned earlier that should be coming out in the near future and a collection of ambient tracks from 2012 until now. I’ve also taken a slight interest into grime and hip hop music. Artists like Jme , Skepta and Black Knights are really interesting to me, particularly the producers behind their music such as Jme himself, Deeco and Trickfingers. I hope to make some grime and hip hop based music in the future however I’m not sure if that’ll ever happen or whether it will come out under ‘Awentekr’. I’m interested in getting into DJ’ing at some point, in various styles of music such as IDM , house, acid, ambient and techno. I’m also in the early stages of collaboration with a really talented singer and musician that I really like called Nadine Carina. I’d like to do more collaborations with singers in time, maybe a whole album or ep of my music with various artists or one artist singing. As for my own work and more electronic music, I’ve been doing some tracks recently but they don’t really fit with each other, so I’m not sure whether they’ll be together on anything. I have some older tracks on hard-drives that I need to go back through and sort, delete, release, work on accordingly. A lot of unfinished acid, ambient, house and techno experiments that I assume will see the light of day at some point.

Great to hear that! Are you going to work with some artists here at #WEATNU?

Awentekr: I would like to but as of right now I have absolutely no idea so I wouldn’t rule it out…

How is your music received in Cornwall?

Awentekr: To be honest with you, I’m not sure. I’d say 99% of people listening to my music are on the internet. Which isn’t a complaint of mine at all; in fact it’s interesting to know that. The Cornish music scene outside of folk and metal is pretty much dead. I’m surprised that there isn’t a bigger electronic scene considering Aphex Twin is from Cornwall. I hope to be part of a change in the future so that electronic music plays a bigger part of the music scene in Cornwall. I guess the true gauge of that will be once I actually release some music in Cornwall and perform it live. I’d also have to go about figuring out a live rig for myself, I don’t want to just stand behind my laptop and press play. Something interesting for me alongside performing my tracks live would be just improvising on synthesizers and instruments. Improvisation is important to me but I don’t know how it’ll be received, the same goes for my music that will be released. But in all honesty, as much as I want to change to music scene in Cornwall, it doesn’t bother me if my music isn’t well received here. If it makes just one person somewhere else in the world feel something, whether it be Manchester or Utrecht then that makes me happy and gives me a sense of satisfaction as an artist.

I was reading the same with Richard D. James, he too finds nothing in his own town… It would be most unusual if you two were to meet by complete chance. And finally how has #WEATNU helped you?

Awentekr: Well it’s a possibility! Someone I know saw him in a cafe down here the other day It has helped me gain the confidence to put my music out there, before finding out about WEATNU I didn’t really think there were many other people interested in this side of electronic music anymore. When in reality there are people who love it and want more people to get into it. It’s also brought me some extra plays and downloads which I appreciate a lot, as I said, if my music makes just one person feel something then I’m happy.

It’s always a plus to hear that! What your favourite thing to do?

Awentekr: Listen to music; nothing will ever beat that in my opinion. The feeling some records can give you is indescribable.

Thank you Awentekr for having an interview this evening with #WEATNU Digital Magazine.

Awentekr: Thank you for having me!

#WEATNU Digital Magazine – Interview by Almark

Follow Awentekr on Twitter. 

Like his page on Facebook.

Buy music on bandcamp

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Album Review: Jeff Appleton: ‘Drawing Trees on Paper’/ ‘Greatest Misses’

The title of Appleton’s previous work ‘Drawing Trees on Paper’ can hint at unfinished work: cursory pre-amble sketches, tentative explorations, charcoal lines, pastel hues, primitive, primal and primary. But it is a fully realized work. A work rewarded by repeat listening. The beautifully rustic hand-crafted design of the physical copies and their artwork adds to the artful personality of these very distinctive instrumental tracks. The title track (favourite of this listener) takes my breath away in its granular, sub-atomic detailed glory. Appleton travels down his own nature trails, very much an original, but if you’re looking for touchstones, maybe the ghosts of William Orbit and Moby are in the wings. This is Warp as cottage industry, homespun and beguiling.

Now we have ‘Greatest Misses’; a compilation of Appleton’s earlier albums (including a couple from ‘Trees’ – title track’s missing though, so you have to buy both). Like a vast tome of pressed flowers, it’s hard to select stand-out individual beauty because the beauty is in the context and the sequencing. Appleton’s work works as a whole, the segue and sequence are important. I’m a fan of the album format, so at first, I’m a bit thrown off by the new order (hmmm – Ed) of this collected works. But, no! I’m as happy as a hippo in mud, wading and wallowing in new found delights. And if I had to be pushed, for a secluded island, I’d grab this in the lifeboats.

Maybe most of these older tunes ARE the sketches for ‘Trees’ but I once again find myself in shimmering translucent soundscapes, hinting at space and even deeper negative space, soft undefined edges and washes of pale soft-focus water colours. The palette is subtler than primary colours. John Cage’s transparent music sheets play in my mind, of viewing things that shouldn’t be seen, although atonality has no part of this. These are pretty electronic tunes indeed, joyous, symphonic. And pastoral. I see summer through heat shimmer and sun-flared dandelion seeds. And glacial wintery landscapes glimpsed through headlong cascading snow.

The word ‘translucent’ keeps resurfacing in my mind, as this is translucent, transcendent pop-musik at its most artful and refined. It’s not always about what’s included but what’s left out. There are no edges or outlines but merely suggestions, by Appleton’s use of textures, pastel smudges and tonal shading. A joy to behold. Drum machines skitter like brittle decaying leaves, his Stratocaster chimes like shards of sunlight. There is immense skill in play here, with fluidity and layering in his synth arrangements, all is pristine and uncluttered. We can hear (and ‘see’ everything), things half-glimpsed beneath other surfaces. This is the purest pristine electronica, born of both Cubase and Acid. But, contradictorily, seeming of nature, and wholly naturalistic. Two beautiful and compulsory pieces of tonal Art (with the biggest possible capital A). Jeff, I doff my cap to your canvas

Craig M #WEATNU Digital Magazine

Follow Jeff Appleton on twitter

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Interview with IX

IX is an electronic duo from the UK, based in Chelmsford/Great Wakering, England.

We are interviewing one half of IX today.

How are you Darren?

Darren Esp: I’m great thanks.

We are glad to have you with us on WEATNU as a registered artist. Could you tell us a little about your music?

Darren Esp: We’re glad to be a part of the WEATNU movement. IX are essentially an electronic duo but we strive to be a little different from the norm. We’re not shy of dabbling with most genres and plan on incorporating various instruments along side our main electronic backbone as it were.

It’s always great to hear that, thank you. Even for the UK your music is quite dynamic and different, how is this allowing exposure on BBC radio?

Darren Esp: We’ve actually yet to get any BBC airtime. We’ve been submitting like crazy to various stations both here in the UK and abroad. BBC 6 is actually one of our biggest targets. They’re a great station and are very active at promoting new acts and acts that don’t fit into the normal categories so they’re a good fit for us. Fingers crossed our debut album is getting neat the top of their “in tray.”

We have all the faith that you will.

Darren Esp: We have plenty of patience. One of our founding concepts was to not rush into things and to play “the long game”.

I finally have a chance to listen to your whole album today for this interview, and songs from System VII have been playing on Rotation on WEATNU [OUR] for some time now. Has this in any way benefited your fan-base?

Darren Esp: I’m sure it has. Our fan numbers climb steadily but we do get spikes whenever we’re on your rotation. WEATNU is also a good fit with our plans. We’ve always expected to be an underground act that slowly builds up a back catalog and fan base so it’s a pleasure to be involved.

Glad to hear that.

What is the story of IX?

Darren Esp: It’s quite a long one. My bandmate Iain and I go back a long way, all the way back to the 80s. We met in a record shop and he invited me to an alternative club in our home town at that time. I ended up becoming the DJ at that club and we’ve been firm friends since then. I’d dabbled in a few bands over the years but they never seemed to work out. Doing electronic music was something that I personally had always wanted to do but had never really had the time for. About 2 years ago my personal circumstances changed in that respect and I found I had plenty of time to finally put some ideas together for what became IX. Iain has always been “that guy who knows about computers and technology” which was perfect.

There are a good deal of subdued sounds to IX, especially with System VII. Not to compare with acts such as Massive Attack but still modern enough to sound unique.

Darren Esp: Yeah, we spend a lot of time getting things just right. System VII took over a year of producing and mastering before we were happy enough to release it.

Atmospheric/prog-rock is a focus point on this album, with both high quality mixing and song structure. You are also the guitarist for IX is that right?

Darren Esp: Yeah I play both bass and guitar. System VII is quite “guitar light” to be honest, you’ll be hearing more on our future releases.
Our devision of labor is quite polar. Iain focuses on technology and the management/ promotion side of things while I concentrate on the song writing side.

So you work together in the studio?

Darren Esp: We always take quite a long time getting each track right. Generally I’ll write and rough out tracks on my own and then we get together and go over things together, then there are revisions… and revisions and revisions. we both come from a software development background so that’s how we attack song writing, with version numbering, mastering and alpha-beta- release cycles.

Right, being organized is very important to the song process.
How was the name IX decided upon?

Darren Esp: We’re both big Sci-Fi fans. We wanted something that was simple, bold and would look good on a poster lol. We took IX from the Frank Herbert novel DUNE, where IX is a mysterious planet where machines and technology are created and developed. Sometimes that technology is seen as dark and foreboding, something we thought married up with how we as a band use the technology of music. We don’t always do things the way most people would.

Yeah, I’ve seen the album cover, fantastic stuff and we have another huge fan of the Dune series on #WEATNU, Pzi, Pal Zoltan.

The album VII sounds much like a modern Dune soundtrack might sound, are you hoping to break into the cinematic world of electronic and score for film?

Darren Esp: That’s totally something we’ve talked about. I’m actually writing a couple of pieces currently for a writer friend of the band to go with his releases. So booking soundtracks as well as the movie angle is something we’re planing on pursuing.

Indie or mainstream?

Darren Esp: Indie all the way

Do you play keyboards sometimes?

Darren Esp: Yes indeed. It’s the backbone of what we do. Almost everything we’ve done was written on keys.

So, you play guitar, bass and keyboards…

Darren Esp: …all badly yes lol

And Iain does the sequences, drums and so forth?

Darren Esp: It’s so far been mostly me on sequencing too.

It’s hard to cover over talent with modesty

I love how the album builds suddenly on The Machine. Parts I – III, listening to the first part.
Or the beginning of that movement.

Darren Esp: We are definitely studio-centric. we have a phrase “Quality Threshold” basically a track never leaves the studio if either of us have any issues with it.

As it should be.

Darren Esp: The Machine was actually one of the fastest tracks we recorded. Everything came together very quickly on that one.

Being a musician myself, I agree 100% What music influences your sound these days? I hear Classical on Serena’s Lament.

Darren Esp: That is a complicated question lol.. There are two types of music… good music and bad music. We’re influenced by the good stuff. Yes we plan on having another classical style track on our next release too. Again it goes right back to when we first started. We said if we’re going to do it we’re not going to go half measure. It has to be great in our opinion or it’s not worth doing. It’s why the first album took so long. It was a learning process for us both. But hopefully we’re progressing and our new output wont take quite so long.

Are you playing live at this time?

Darren Esp: No, we’re totally studio based for the time being. there are technical issues with recreating our sound live that can only be overcome by throwing lots of expensive equipment it’s way. If we can’t be brilliant live, we’ll wait until we can.

That’s understandable, as many of us these days use software centered sound.

Darren Esp: Yeah it would be easy enough to plug a laptop into a sound desk but that sound would not be good enough for us. We’ve seen people do that and we’ll wait until we’re in a position to do something better.

I hear VST modules are good for live performance.

Darren Esp: … and that is where you’d have to ask Iain lol. He’s in charge of technology.

Laughs, right. What do you think about WEATNU as a whole?

Darren Esp: I think it’s a great idea and I love the energy and effort you put in. I think it’s going to grow to be something very cool.

Thank you, already we’ve been showcased on a community radio station in Austin, Texas. We hope to gain the attention of larger media such as PBS. Plus we have the PR, Radio, record label, and now #WEATNU Digital Magazine. With a team of people helping make this dream real for the electronic musician.

Darren Esp: It’s great. the one thing we’ve been surprised by is the willingness of electronic musicians to club together like this.

It was the dream from the start of WEATNU, because it’s the only way, due to the market changing so much after 2000.

Darren Esp: Indeed it’s a whole new world for music publishing now and organizations like WEATNU are going to start playing a big part in shaping the market.

Being the first virtual movement of the Electronic underground, we hope this happens.

Darren Esp: The same here.

Do you get a chance to listen to #WEATNU [OUR] 24/7 radio?

Darren Esp: I’ve not had a chance yet but I know Iain has. Another of his jobs in the band is to find things for me to listen to. He’s dropped a few WEATNU band names in my inbox and I’m working through them.

Some names?

Darren Esp: Yeah I was listening to Ian Haygreen and The Aircrash Bureau earlier.
Interesting stuff. I like the differences there are between a lot of “electronic” artists.
Those two are both essentially electronic bands but very different.

There is a lot of variety on WEATNU.

Darren Esp: On the downside though, I think its very home studio set-ups make is easy for people to churn out content of lesser quality. If you go on soundcloud and just surf it’s stunning how much poor quality stuff there is. It’s important to keep that Quality Threshold in mind.

And we do, especially for the label

Darren Esp: Absolutely it’s that which what makes WEATNU stand out.

So you’re on your way to writing a new album?

Darren Esp: Already well underway. We have half a dozen tracks already lined up and in the early production stage (alpha we call it). Our new demo: “Now Spell IX” is kind of a little inside joke for us. we thought it would be fun to put it out now as it’s quite different from the stuff on System VII (as is most of the stuff on the new album).

Exactly, I heard that right off.

Darren Esp: Yeah it’s something we thought of ages ago but were waiting for the right song idea to use it. Now Spell IX just flew together once we’d had the idea.

And are we to expect that same sound throughout the album, or are there surprises in store?

Darren Esp: Totally surprises. There are basically two types of album we intend to release “Blue” (concept albums like system VII) and “Red” (more traditional mixtures of songs like the new one Grinder).

I see the really great merchandise on your bandcamp. With limited edition minidisc and more.

Darren Esp: Indeed. That’s another thing we always wanted to do. our next album will be available on Cassette, we like redundant formats.

It’s never easy to produce physical in mass, how did you manage, are you under a label?

Darren Esp: No we’re not signed. we do everything ourselves although we do use a label name (Guild Records) for our releases but it’s just us. eventually it may be more.
* remember we mentioned “The Long Game”

Favorite softsynth these days?

Darren Esp: Trade secrets lol.

Good answer.

Just wanted to say thank you for having this interview with us today, for WEATNU and your support.

Darren Esp: Totally our pleasure. Thank you for your continued efforts to develop the electronic music underground.

It is our passion and now yours.

You can find IX on twitter 

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