Interview: Five Minutes with Re.decay

Production duo Re.decay have released their debut single, ‘Sun In The Morning (feat. ADH, Mawcom X, Sedric Perry)’ via SPRINGSTOFF. The single is featured on their upcoming EP, Down Long Enough which releases on 19 June 2020. Re.decay consists of American solo performer Owen Ross and German music producer Emanuel Bender. Ross grew up in a musically orientated family. His mother worked as an opera singer, and his father introduced him to rock classics, including the work of Jimi Hendrix.  Bender has formal training in  Film-Music Composition from Jazz&Pop ArtEZ. 

We find out what makes the duo tick in this exclusive interview below. 

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

We were both exposed to and drawn to music at a very early age. It was the first thing that made me feel like I had a truly unique identity and a means to express myself.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

It’s usually some sort of combination. We enjoy imposing limitations on ourselves. Sometimes it’s nice to put yourself in a box (a certain tempo, genre, feel, etc.) because then you’re forced to use every inch of the box to make something special. But our sound comes naturally so it’s always there.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

Our record has been blessed with collaborations from talented artists all over the world. Sedric Perry (Fhat, based in Berlin) sang on two of the tracks and ADH (based in New York) rapped on three. K.Marie Kim (also based in New York) sang on one track and Brian Ennals (Baltimore) rapped on one. We also got Mawcom X (based in Accra, Ghana) to do a verse for us.

What’s on your current playlist?

Channel Tres, Madlib x Freddie Gibbs, Billy Preston, Mikael Steifu, Muqata’a, Gafacci, Infinity Knives, Keenan O’Meara, Joy Postell, Wilsen, Your Old Droog, Murkage Dave, Kuvie, Jimi Hendrix, Taylor Bense, Fourtet, Aretha Franklin, A-Wa, Tlim Shug, Kokoko!, DJ Raph,

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

The cornerstone of my live approach has always been to bring an audience along with me rather than to try to perform for them per se. I always try to dive as deep as I can into the music I’m playing. When I’m able to do that I don’t have to “perform” for people because they can feel that there’s a guy in front of them giving them everything, there’s a truly special and new energy being created and we are all collectively a part of it at that moment. It’s primal.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

We make all our own samples and often we manipulate them until they are something totally different from what they were originally. The bulk of our samples are made on an SP404 or an MPC200xl so they have a particularly raw sound. We often start with that and then build a chord progression and bassline around that. We are also constantly simplifying and removing things from our tracks. At the end of the day, we want to distill our beats to their purest rawest form… no fat no filler.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

Usually, we will grab a coffee or something and then head into one of our studios. We talk a lot about music and our ideas and maybe listen to a few tracks. At some point, Manu starts building some drums, and I (Owen) plug in the SP404 and start going through some of the recent samples I’ve made. Once we land on something we like, we add keys, guitar, bass.. and we build an arrangement from there.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

Owen: Sometime in the early 2000’s my Dad bought a bunch of CDs of albums that he used to only have on Vinyl. It was all great stuff but Are You Experienced? by The Jimi Hendrix Experience shook me to the core. That was the first time I remember feeling like “this isn’t, a hobby, this is something you do with your life.”

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

Not much except the gear I’m using. Maybe some water/beer/whiskey at a safe distance from the electronics.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Muquata’a is a really dope producer from Palestine who we love.. he makes really unique tracks and his sonic textures are super inspiring. Gafacci is another monster producer who makes really dope futuristic afro beats. And the whole Through My Speakers crew in Berlin delivers consistent heat. Also, all of the artists featured on our record are really talented up and coming artists making dope music.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Experiencing other forms of art (visual art, literature, film) is always great because when I love it, it inspires me but in a very non-literal way since I work in a different medium. Of course, listening to new music can be really inspiring too.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

The staples of my gear are a Stratocaster, SP404sx, MPC200xl, and Ableton Live. I also use an Elektron Digitakt and a Roland TR8s. Manu works in Logic Pro and

Any side projects you’re working on?

We both work individually as producers with a lot of different artists. I’m currently in the middle of a collaboration with Keenan O’Meara that I’m really excited about. I also coproduce for DINAH with Mya Audrey a very talented singer and keys player. I also produced an EP for Vosh last year and we are working on a full-length album. In addition, I’m putting together an EP of house- inspired instrumental tracks.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of really talented people and have been forced to up my game just by being around them. When I first started making beats/electronic music, I was coming from just being a guitarist and a songwriter, so I had no understanding of mixing at all. Once I started showing my beats to peers of mine and watching how they work, I learned a lot, fast and my mixing and sound design got a lot better. I think the goal is to keep that initial spark alive while still honing the technical elements of production.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

This year we will be releasing at least two videos, a seven-song EP, and an EP of instrumentals for the beat heads.

Famous last words?

“I wish I had a day to just stay home”

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